Talks for Growing Christians
The Destruction of the Scroll
Lesson Number 34
- God’s ways go beyond human expectations.
- God’s ways go beyond human efficiency.
- Let us not cut up the Scripture, but let Scripture cut us!
- From what materials were ancient documents made, such as the scroll written by Baruch? What material were the seals made from? What do archeologists call these seals? Who are the three men mentioned in this chapter whose names have been found by archeologists on ancient seals?
- The setting for the events of this chapter was in 605 BC, the 4th year of King Jehoiakim. What were two of the important historical events involving Nebuchadnezzar that took place during this year?
- What were Jeremiah’s expectations when he initially recorded all the words that the Lord had given him? Were his expectations realized?
- Describe the actions of King Jehoiakim when he heard the Lord’s words as they were read from the scroll by Jehudi.
- Describe God’s response to King Jehoiakim’s actions (vs 27-31).
- Ancient documents, such as the scroll Baruch used to record the words that God had spoken to Jeremiah, were made of papyrus or parchment. After the writing was complete, the scroll was rolled up, tied with a cord, and sealed with a clay seal that had the name of the scribe (or official) stamped into it. These ancient seals are called bullea (singular, bulla). In the ruins of ancient Jerusalem a number of bullea have been discovered, which include the names of three men recorded here in Jeremiah chapter 36: Baruch, the son of Neriah, who was Jeremiah’s scribe; Gemariah, the son of Shaphan the scribe; and Jerahmeel, the king’s son.
- Two important events that took place in the year 605 BC were Nebuchadnezzar’s victory over the Egyptian forces at the Battle of Carchemish, and Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Judah. It was in this attack against Judah that Daniel and others of the nobility were taken into captivity and King Jehoiakim became a vassal of Babylon.
- Jeremiah was certainly hoping that the people would listen to his prophecies, turn from their wicked ways, and be saved from any further Babylonian invasions. After all, the Lord had said “. . . that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” However, Jeremiah’s expectations were not realized, as the people refused to repent and turn from their wicked ways.
- When the words of the Lord were read to King Jehoiakim, he cut the scroll into pieces and cast it into the fire and burned it. He destroyed the entire scroll (v 23).
- God’s response to the king’s burning of the scroll was twofold. He not only commanded Jeremiah to rewrite all the words that were on the first scroll on another scroll, but He also added to the words on the new scroll the prophecies of punishment against King Jehoiakim and his family.
- After re-reading Jeremiah 36, discuss the matter of God’s exercising His sovereignty over all things while still allowing people of all walks of life the freedom of making choices.
- Has it become habitual for you to read and meditate only on the promises and blessings in God’s Word? Does the account of King Jehoiakim cutting up and destroying part of the Word of God, challenge you to apply all of Scripture to your life, even those portions that are “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit”? It is helpful to be reminded that “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (See Hebrews 4:11-13.)
- “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may turn from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” Jeremiah 36:3